Feb 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm #1286045
Edward JursekBPL Member
@nedjursekgmail-comLocale: Pacific Northwest
As a fairly new BPL member (less than a year) I am struck by how high the prices are on the Gear Swap Forum (GSF). I check it on a regular basis and find that quality gear at an appropriate price point sells very fast. I have purchased a Zpacks Hexamid Solo and a GG Murmur on the GSF. Both items were priced at a significant discount over retail and I found them within hours of the items being listed. I have also just missed 2 other great purchases by an hour or two. This is how the GSF market place should work.
However, I am increasingly encountering items on the GSF that are very close to retail price. Even if the item is new with tags, there are distinct disadvantages and risks to buying gear used on the GSF. There is no return policy. There is very little recourse for a bad experience except to post a complaint about a seller, who becomes defensive, and the thread devolves into name calling and blaming. I have seen these threads in the past and they are not constructive for anyone.
If I am taking a risk buying on-line, on the GSF or Ebay or Craigslist for that matter, I expect a significant saving to offset the risk I am taking. If the risk doesn't pan out, then it was buyer beware and I took the chance. I understand free market principals and the rational desire for a seller to get the maximum price for a given item and the buyer to pay the least amount. Many BPL members find their gear very dear and price it too high. This is evidenced by the number of "Bump" posting I come across. The GSF is a large and dedicated market place and if an item is being "Bumped" by the seller 3,4,5 or even more times, it is time to get a clue and lower the price or get the item off the forum. Likewise, I find a lot of posts that are being "Bumped" with an incramental lowering of the price, often in absurdly small increments. Knocking 2% off that Cuben Fiber Tarp that didn't sell at $400 for the last 6 weeks isn't going to move the item. If it was priced right it would be gone in hours. I have actually tracked items from the GSF to Ebay and found they sold for much less on Ebay then the GSF, reflecting a more reasonable and rational market place. All of these "Bumped" listings clutter the forum and waste a buyer's time. As the GSF market price is not set by bidding, but by the seller's listing price, it is incumbent on sellers to price their gear reasonably.
I encourage members who have "Bumped" items multiple times to either get real about pricing an item to sell or get it off the forum. It is sad that I see so many members pushing their gear prices towards retail. For a few dollars more I can pay retail and have some recourse if something goes wrong. My last few ultralight purchases have been on Craigslist and on Ebay, including a deal on a Feathered Friends bag that I have never seen priced so reasonably on the GSF. I encourage BLP members to price their gear reasonably and support this excellent community of backpackers. Yes, the way the forum is structured, this the seller's responsibility, so we don't have to keep wading through "Bumped" postings as the sellers grope for the bottom of the market, which is often well below their lofty prices, and go to Craigslist and Ebay to find our gear.Feb 22, 2012 at 1:25 pm #1843101
Cayenne RedmonkBPL Member
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Some recent items are
If you want one you pay whatever you think it is worth.
Some people want things more than others.
Others don't need things, but value enough that they would rather own them than give it away at 45% of cost.
Real World. Deal.Feb 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm #1843103
All a matter of simple supply and demand that is completely beyond the control of BPL or forum members. That's the beauty of it.
Knowing that plethora of gear Sluts here that tend to drive prices way up…
1. For an item that's fairly well known mainstream, I'd go to Ebay and fish there for cheap.
2. For specialized items that I really want, I'll suck up and pay (and do it fast too).Feb 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm #1843117
Jason ElsworthBPL Member
@jephotoLocale: New Zealand
I also encourage everyone to list their gear at low prices:)Feb 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm #1843119
I agree. Also there is a lot of custom stuff that one must wait for many weeks to get new, or things that are no longer produced. Supply and demand is beautiful especially if you want to sell something with high demand and little availability.
Of course if something does not sell quickly, the seller needs to review the asking price.Feb 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm #1843128
Joe ClementBPL Member
That's MR. Gear Slut to you.Feb 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm #1843129
Ken T.BPL Member
Oh. You're being serious. Ha Ha HA HA HA.
I think groceries and fuel cost too much. Please charge less for them.Feb 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm #1843132
I agree with you on the excessive bumping. I've seen some items bumped on the same day they were posted. But other than that, I don't really see a problem with people asking for what might seem like high prices. If it's too high, then people just won't buy it.
On the topic of bumping, I don't really understand the "Sold" posts that just bump down all the other items that are still for sale. The person that bought it already knows it has been sold, why does everyone else need to know? Just edit the original post to reflect that it's sold.Feb 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm #1843202
"Just edit the original post to reflect that it's sold."
EXACTLY!!!Feb 22, 2012 at 10:07 pm #1843350
@socal-nomadLocale: North San Diego county
I really think a good rule of thumb would be if you are going to bump your sale on this board you have to drop the price $5.00 to 10% each time, So you can sell the item instead of annoying us with your OCD problem of bumping your over priced for sale items to the top of the page every few hours.
Some people just don't believe in automatic price devaluation of a product once it leave the store or used a couple of times. I guess Rei and other big box stores their liberal refund and exchange anytime are to blame for this. Try taking a new car back after it left the lot you lose 10 to 25% of it value if you try to return it.
I have been watching 10 year old Thompson walking foot sewing machine on craigslist for over a month that get bumped every few days he selling for $375.00. I keep sending him emails I will give him what it really worth $275.00. I am hoping after about another month of this he will sell it to me for the price it really worth.
TerryFeb 22, 2012 at 10:56 pm #1843366
Travis LeannaBPL Member
>So you can sell the item instead of annoying us with your OCD problem of bumping your over priced for sale items to the top of the page every few hours.
Every few hours is excessive, yes. But what if 4, 5, 6, 7+ days have passed? Everyone knows how fast a gear swap post can be buried, and the seller is simply trying to participate by bumping their post. I appreciate the occasional bump because there are items I missed the first time around.
>Some people just don't believe in automatic price devaluation of a product once it leave the store or used a couple of times.
If a product is functionally and cosmetically "new," then just because it isn't coming from the manufacturer doesn't automatically make the item's value less (warrantee issues aside). Usually, however, second hand but still new gear is often offered at some sort of discount because that's what a free market, such as Gear Swap, has demanded. But consider this example: I get a brand new MLD DuoMid in the mail and turn around and sell it. The wait time is upwards of 7 weeks for a new one from MLD, but you could have mine right now–a brand new one for the same price. It has retained its complete value, and some might argue that it has increased in value because it is available immediately. So no, I don't see an automatic devaluation of products. I understand that the principle exists, but sometimes its simply not automatic.
REI's return policy has actually allowed the customer to evaluate a product's value rather than be force-fed a concrete value placed on said item by the manufacturer or retailer. Within reason, if I buy an item that does not live up to its advertised purpose, function, or value, REI has given me the power to say, "No. This item is not valuable to me for the price I paid, so I will return it." And that is good for the consumer.
>I have been watching 10 year old Thompson walking foot sewing machine on craigslist for over a month that get bumped every few days he selling for $375.00. I keep sending him emails I will give him what it really worth $275.00.
Value is often a very personal thing. It may be worth $375 to the seller, but only worth $275 to you. Maybe every other identical machine is selling at $275, but the seller holds it at a higher value. That's neither the fault of you or the seller, but disparaging someone because you disagree with their price is not really cool. Its their prerogative to list an item at a price they think it is worth. If you disagree, then don't buy. And ultimately the item may not sell.
Our "money" is nothing more than a fibrous piece of printed paper that holds a perceived and fabricated value. And remember, that "value" is determined by computer algorithms that control the stock market, speculators that "predict" what commodities will be worth, and various other factors that fall under the illusion of a free market (which doesn't exist on the national or global scale).
Real value comes from real life purpose and function. A suitcase full of $100 bills is pretty worthless to an indigenous person from the Amazon, but a tool, shelter material, or livestock could easily be worth way more to them. Crude analogy, I know, but value is subjective.Feb 23, 2012 at 12:43 am #1843381
Edward JursekBPL Member
@nedjursekgmail-comLocale: Pacific Northwest
I think Travis is getting close to my issue, that my disappointment with the Gear Swap Forum is not about the prices per se. It is what the prices say about the BPL community. I expected the free market/invisible hand/Adam Smith/Ayn Rand crowd to weigh in with their "whatever the market will bear" arguments. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people still elevate personal selfishness to the level of a moral virtue. I am disappointed that so few people call B.S. on that empty rationalization.
I have found the BPL community to be very helpful everywhere else, with tips, with answers to my questions, with all of the collective knowledge here. Yet where money meets values, money, and the rationalizations that we use to justify our selfish behavior towards each other, wins. It is as sad as it is predictble. I try to live my values as best I can. As I moved towards my personal ultralight goals, I gave all of my old gear, that was nice and light (just not light enough for me) to a friend I hike with. After our first trip last summer, with his newly lightened load, he is fast becoming a convert to ultralight backpacking. I guess if I value selfishness I should post my old gear on the Gear Swap Forum and see if some sucker will pay too much for it? I'd rather give it away and try making my conscience as my pack. Or, Wait! I could sell it at a fair price that helps some fellow BPL member move towards their UL gear goals and help fund my own UL gear goals? Yes, I know, that is crazy talk.Feb 23, 2012 at 1:36 am #1843388
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> if an item is being "Bumped" by the seller 3,4,5 or even more times,
Then I am likely to delete ALL the bumps. Bump postings are not-approved.
Online Community Monitor
Backpacking LightFeb 23, 2012 at 4:35 am #1843403
"… where money meets values, money, and the rationalizations that we use to justify our selfish behavior towards each other, wins. It is as sad as it is predictble."
Yet I have seen many instances where a cottage manufacturer has shared his hard-earned knowledge to help someone MYOG an item that he sells. I think your characterization is a bit overblown.Feb 23, 2012 at 5:09 am #1843406
If it's not worth the money to you, you don't want it or need it. Look at alpacka packrafts, used ones go for $800 after 4-5 years! And yet, if that packraft brings you on the adventure of a lifetime, I would say excellent investment. If you all are just sniping up stuff to fill your gear closets, then maybe it's a good thing prices are high and I hope the person that buys it has an incredible adventure with quality pieces of gear.Feb 23, 2012 at 5:18 am #1843408
Ken T.BPL Member
"Then I am likely to delete ALL the bumps. Bump postings are not-approved."
This is news. Never happens that I've witnessed.
Money is harder to come by these days. You don't give it away free if you don't know where your next dollar is coming.Feb 23, 2012 at 5:19 am #1843409
Hiking MaltoBPL Member
I have often laughed at some of the prices asked for "standard" items such as new Golite products that are currently on the market. I have seen prices well above what the item was sold just recently but I suspect that the seller quickly adjusts the price once he finds little interest.
As far as other items. You will see an older sytle Jam pack go for higher prices than a new one because in our community it is often preferred due to the more minimalistic style. Also some of the cottage gear can have back orders and an available piece of gear could have a premium due to that availiblity.
It is wonderful, supply and demand.Feb 23, 2012 at 6:54 am #1843436
"I have found the BPL community to be very helpful everywhere else, with tips, with answers to my questions, with all of the collective knowledge here. Yet where money meets values, money, and the rationalizations that we use to justify our selfish behavior towards each other, wins. It is as sad as it is predictble."
Sorry Edward, you're showing an inability to see the other side. It is just as selfish of you to want something cheaper, as it is for a seller to want more for his/her item. It's really that simple. To cast stones at BPL community members because they won't sell something for a price YOU deem acceptable is self-centered and unwarranted, in my opinion. And please, your "I give my gear away because I'm not selfish" bit, while commendable, is just downright silly in this context. You're not better than the sellers because you give away your gear and they sell theirs (and before you try to say you didn't say that, it is exactly what you strongly imply).
The problem with this silly 'moral' stance you're trying to take is this: you have no idea what any member of this site does in the way of charity/assistance. They may sell their stuff for prices higher than you think reasonable – and give the money to the local Boy Scouts or their church or some other non-profit organization. Believing that people should 'give' in the way you approve of is exceptionally selfish – the same behavior you're castigating in others.Feb 23, 2012 at 8:06 am #1843462
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
…value is subjective.
Travis hit the nail on the head here. Unfortunately (or is this actually a good thing?), no one person controls a market. The invisible hand, perceived value, etc. are the aggregate of consumer decisions. Economic theories are simply models that seek to represent what markets have done after the fact. Because people are fairly consistent when taken as large groups, economists are often able to make predictions about how the economy will function, but there is no guarantee that these predictions will come true. Sometimes people make decisions the economists do not expect or foresee (e.g. Greece). Subjective values on an aggregate level are defined by the collective value a community has placed on an item.
Now, in a small market like BPL Gear Swap, the differences are often much more pronounced. You can't expect it to be the same as the used car market and you alone can't impose your preferences on it. The rules have been made by the thousands of sales that have happened through Gear Swap. If this market judges that an unused Duomid from a member is worth the same as one from Ron Bell, then that is what it is worth in this context. (Actually, I'm surprised the GoLite Ions don't go for a lot more; people would pay it, and that is a testimony to the restraint I often see on Gear Swap.)
And there are a lot of good reasons for this. (1) as Travis mentioned, you don't have to wait 7 weeks for Ron to get it to you. If you've got a trip coming up, and you've been researching shelters for months, finally settled on one, but don't have to wait to start using it, the gratification is really rewarding.
(2) Because the cottage manufacturers make and sell their own gear, they're willing to support it whether you bought something from them directly or not. I have no doubt that if I bought a TarpTent, a Trailstar, a ULA pack, Zpacks gear, or pretty much anything from the major cottage players on Gear Swap, then damaged the item on a trip, that they'd repair it for a reasonable price. I may not be able to claim that something has a manufacturing defect if I bought it used (part of the risk), but typically the trust established between members keeps that risk to a minimum.
And (3) it really is good for the BPL community and the cottage guys. Unless you live near one of them, there is almost nowhere to try things on or test them out to know if they work for you. Fit and use are very subjective. And Gear Swap is a nice kind of insurance that if I buy something I have only seen pictures and specs on, then I can sell it for most of my money. This worked great for me when I bought a KookaBay pad. When it came it, I realized that it didn't fit me well, but it wasn't Bender's fault. I should have ordered a wider pad. I sold it on Gear Swap for what I paid for it so that I was only out shipping (and it took less than an hour). I knew that going in, and it was a major factor in my decision to give Bender a try.
Really, I don't see the problem here. These things are worth enough to others that they'll typically pay a higher price, and the ability to sell a basically new or lightly used item for close to its purchase price provides necessary confidence for the cottage market. Most of the time, it's a win-win.Feb 23, 2012 at 8:49 am #1843475
The selling price is determined by what a willing and able buyer will pay for it.
All the long dissertations mean nothing.Feb 23, 2012 at 9:07 am #1843485
…Feb 23, 2012 at 10:01 am #1843524
" if an item is being "Bumped" by the seller 3,4,5 or even more times,
Then I am likely to delete ALL the bumps. Bump postings are not-approved.
Online Community Monitor
3 times ought to be the limit. Like most things in life, it's just so much better if we all exercise some common courtesy and self restraint. T's would be a shame if we adults need to have umpteen rules and regulations over us!Feb 23, 2012 at 10:35 am #1843557
Greg MihalikBPL Member
I agree that bumping more frequently than about two days gets a little old.
But an absolute limit of three seems a little tight.
I had a TN Photon up for sale for about 6 months. Maybe it was the wrong time of the year, maybe it was priced to high, maybe I wasn't in a hurry. But I bumped it many times, at about once a week.
Selling a windshirt at $40 will have a much wider pool of buyers than a $600 cuben shelter. Spring is high season for gearing up, and winter not so much. Not everyone is glued to the screen waiting for a deal.
Items fall off the Gear Swap front page fast, but that is no reason to keep flogging your gear. A smart buyer will be looking past Page 1, or doing a "Search Forums".
Better to drop a PM to an overly aggressive seller than to hammer those who are aware and considerate.Feb 23, 2012 at 10:51 am #1843568
I rarely look at a GSF post, and there are a lot of them. Pretty easy for me to ignore them, even the bumped ones. Why is everyone so ornery lately? To be honest, I could care less one way or the other.Feb 23, 2012 at 11:12 am #1843591
" I couldn't care less one way or the other."
Fixed it for you. :)
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.